The Paralympic sports comprise all the sports contested in the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games. As of 2016, the Summer Paralympics included 22 sports and 526 medal events,and the Winter Paralympics include 5 sports and disciplines and about 72 events. The number and kinds of events may change from one Paralympic Games to another.
Sport includes all forms of competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, entertainment for spectators. Hundreds of sports exist, from those between single contestants, through to those with hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals. In certain sports such as racing, many contestants may compete, simultaneously or consecutively, with one winner; in others, the contest is between two sides, each attempting to exceed the other. Some sports allow a "tie" or "draw", in which there is no single winner; others provide tie-breaking methods to ensure one winner and one loser. A number of contests may be arranged in a tournament producing a champion. Many sports leagues make an annual champion by arranging games in a regular sports season, followed in some cases by playoffs.
The Summer Paralympic Games or the Games of the Paralympiad, are an international multi-sport event where athletes with physical disabilities compete. This includes athletes with mobility disabilities, amputations, blindness, and cerebral palsy. The Paralympic Games are held every four years, organized by the International Paralympic Committee. Medals are awarded in each event, with gold medals for first place, silver for second and bronze for third, a tradition that the Olympic Games started in 1904.
The Winter Paralympic Games is an international multi-sport event where athletes with physical disabilities compete in snow and ice sports. This includes athletes with mobility disabilities, amputations, blindness, and cerebral palsy. The Winter Paralympic Games are held every four years directly following the Winter Olympic Games. The Winter Paralympics are also hosted by the city that hosted the Winter Olympics. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) oversees the Winter Paralympics. Medals are awarded in each event: with gold medals for first place, silver for second and bronze for third, following the tradition that the Olympic Games started in 1904.
The Paralympic Games are a major international multi-sport event for athletes with physical disabilities or intellectual impairments. This includes athletes with mobility disabilities, amputations, blindness, and cerebral palsy. Paralympic sports refers to organized competitive sporting activities as part of the global Paralympic movement. These sports are organized and run under the supervision of the International Paralympic Committee and other international sports federations.
The Paralympic Games or Paralympics are a periodic series of international multi-sport events involving athletes with a range of disabilities, including impaired muscle power, impaired passive range of movement, limb deficiency, leg length difference, short stature, hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis, vision impairment and intellectual impairment. There are Winter and Summer Paralympic Games, which since the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea, are held almost immediately following the respective Olympic Games. All Paralympic Games are governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
A multi-sport event is an organized sporting event, often held over multiple days, featuring competition in many different sports among organized teams of athletes from (mostly) nation-states. The first major, modern, multi-sport event of international significance is the modern Olympic Games.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. Signs and symptoms vary among people and over time. Often, symptoms include poor coordination, stiff muscles, weak muscles, and tremors. There may be problems with sensation, vision, hearing, swallowing, and speaking. Often, babies with cerebral palsy do not roll over, sit, crawl or walk as early as other children of their age. Other symptoms include seizures and problems with thinking or reasoning, which each occur in about one third of people with CP. While symptoms may get more noticeable over the first few years of life, underlying problems do not worsen over time.
Organized sport for persons with physical disabilities developed out of rehabilitation programs. Following World War II, in response to the needs of large numbers of injured ex-service members and civilians, sport was introduced as a key part of rehabilitation. Sport for rehabilitation grew into recreational sport and then into competitive sport. The pioneer of this approach was Ludwig Guttmann of the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in England. In 1948, while the Olympic Games were being held in London, England, he organized a sports competition for wheelchair athletes at Stoke Mandeville. This was the origin of the Stoke Mandeville Games, which evolved into the modern Paralympic Games.
Physical medicine and rehabilitation, also known as physiatry and physiatrics(but this can also refer to physiotherapy), is a branch of medicine that aims to enhance and restore functional ability and quality of life to those with physical impairments or disabilities. A physician having completed training in this field may be referred to as a physiatrist. Physiatrists specialize in restoring optimal function to people with injuries to the muscles, bones, ligaments, or nervous system.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
Sir Ludwig "Poppa" Guttmann was a German-born British neurologist who established the Paralympic Games in England. The Jewish doctor, who had fled Nazi Germany just before the start of the Second World War, is considered to be one of the founding fathers of organised physical activities for people with a disability.
Globally, the International Paralympic Committee is recognized as the leading organization, with direct governance of nine sports, and responsibility over the Paralympic Games and other multi-sport, multi-disability events. Other international organizations, notably the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS), the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability (INAS) and the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CP-ISRA) govern some sports that are specific to certain disability groups.In addition, certain single-sport federations govern sports for athletes with a disability, either as part of an able-bodied sports federation such as the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI), or as a disabled sports federation such as the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation.
Disabled sports, also adaptive sports or parasports, are sports played by people with a disability, including physical and intellectual disabilities. As many disabled sports are based on existing able bodied sports, modified to meet the needs of persons with a disability, they are sometimes referred to as adapted sports. However, not all disabled sports are adapted; several sports that have been specifically created for persons with a disability have no equivalent in non-disabled sports. Disability exists in four categories: physical, mental, permanent and temporary.
The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) is an international sports organisation that governs sports for athletes with physical impairments.
The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) is a nonprofit organisation founded 1981 in Paris, France. IBSA's mission is to promote the full integration of blind and partially sighted people in society through sport and to encourage people with a visual impairment to take up and practice sports. IBSA is a full and founding member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
At the national level, there are a wide range of organizations that take responsibility for Paralympic sport, including National Paralympic Committees, [ citation needed ]which are members of the IPC, and many others.
Athletes who participate in Paralympic sport are grouped into ten major categories, based on their type of disability:
Physical Impairment - There are eight different types of physical impairment recognized by the movement:
Spina bifida is a birth defect in which there is incomplete closing of the spine and membranes around the spinal cord during early development in pregnancy. There are three main types: spina bifida occulta, meningocele and myelomeningocele. The most common location is the lower back, but in rare cases it may be the middle back or neck. Occulta has no or only mild signs. Signs of occulta may include a hairy patch, dimple, dark spot or swelling on the back at the site of the gap in the spine. Meningocele typically causes mild problems with a sac of fluid present at the gap in the spine. Myelomeningocele, also known as open spina bifida, is the most severe form. Associated problems include poor ability to walk, problems with bladder or bowel control, accumulation of fluid in the brain (hydrocephalus), a tethered spinal cord and latex allergy. Learning problems are relatively uncommon.
Polio, short for poliomyelitis, or infantile paralysis, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. In about 0.5 percent of cases there is muscle weakness resulting in an inability to move. This can occur over a few hours to a few days. The weakness most often involves the legs but may less commonly involve the muscles of the head, neck and diaphragm. Many people fully recover. In those with muscle weakness about 2 to 5 percent of children and 15 to 30 percent of adults die. Another 25 percent of people have minor symptoms such as fever and a sore throat and up to 5 percent have headache, neck stiffness and pains in the arms and legs. These people are usually back to normal within one or two weeks. In up to 70 percent of infections there are no symptoms. Years after recovery post-polio syndrome may occur, with a slow development of muscle weakness similar to that which the person had during the initial infection.
Arthritis is a term often used to mean any disorder that affects joints. Symptoms generally include joint pain and stiffness. Other symptoms may include redness, warmth, swelling, and decreased range of motion of the affected joints. In some types of arthritis, other organs are also affected. Onset can be gradual or sudden.
Visual Impairment - Athletes with visual impairment ranging from partial vision, sufficient to be judged legally blind, to total blindness. This includes impairment of one or more component of the visual system (eye structure, receptors, optic nerve pathway, and visual cortex).The sighted guides for athletes with a visual impairment are such a close and essential part of the competition that the athlete with visual impairment and the guide are considered a team. Beginning in 2012, these guides (along with sighted goalkeepers in 5-a-side football became eligible to receive medals of their own.
Intellectual Disability - Athletes with a significant impairment in intellectual functioning and associated limitations in adaptive behaviour. The IPC primarily serves athletes with physical disabilities, but the disability group Intellectual Disability has been added to some Paralympic Games. This includes only elite athletes with intellectual disabilities diagnosed before the age of 18.However, the IOC-recognized Special Olympics World Games are open to all people with intellectual disabilities.
The disability category determines who athletes compete against and which sports they participate in. Some sports are open to multiple disability categories (e.g. cycling), while others are restricted to only one (e.g. Five-a-side football). In some sports athletes from multiple categories compete, but only within their category (e.g. athletics), while in others athletes from different categories compete against one another (e.g. swimming). Events in the Paralympics are commonly labelled with the relevant disability category, such as Men's Swimming Freestyle S1, indicating athletes with a severe physical impairment, or Ladies Table Tennis 11, indicating athletes with an intellectual disability.
A major component of Paralympic sport is classification.Classification provides a structure for competition which allows athletes to compete against others with similar disabilities or similar levels of physical function. It is similar in aim to the weight classes or age categories used in some non-disabled sports.
Athletes are classified through a variety of processes that depend on their disability group and the sport they are participating in. Evaluation may include a physical or medical examination, a technical evaluation of how the athlete performs certain sport-related physical functions, and observation in and out of competition. Each sport has its own specific classification system which forms part of the rules of the sport.[ citation needed ]
The following table lists the currently practiced Paralympic sports,
|Sport||Eligible impairments||Governing body||Paralympic Games status|
|Archery||Yes||WA||Summer sport (since 1960)|
|Athletics||Yes||Yes||Yes||IPC||Summer sport (since 1960)|
|Badminton||Yes||Yes||Yes||BWF||Summer sport (starting in 2020)|
|Boccia||Yes||BISFed||Summer sport (since 1984)|
|Canoeing||Yes||ICF||Summer sport (since 2016)|
|Cycling:||Track cycling||Yes||Yes||UCI||Summer sport (since 1988)|
|Road cycling||Yes||Yes||UCI||Summer sport (since 1984)|
|Equestrian||Yes||Yes||FEI||Summer sport (since 1996)|
|Football 5-a-Side||Yes||IBSA||Summer sport (since 2004)|
|Goalball||Yes||IBSA||Summer sport (since 1980)|
|Judo||Yes||IBSA||Summer sport (since 1988)|
|Powerlifting||Yes||IPC||Summer sport (since 1964)|
|Rowing||Yes||Yes||FISA||Summer sport (since 2008)|
|Shooting||Yes||Yes||IPC||Summer sport (since 1976)|
|Swimming||Yes||Yes||Yes||IPC||Summer sport (since 1960)|
|Table tennis||Yes||Yes||ITTF||Summer sport (since 1960)|
|Triathlon||Yes||Yes||ITU||Summer sport (since 2016)|
|Volleyball||Yes||WOVD||Summer sport (since 1976)|
|Wheelchair basketball||Yes||IWBF||Summer sport (since 1960)|
|Wheelchair fencing||Yes||IWAS||Summer sport (since 1960)|
|Wheelchair rugby||Yes||IWRF||Summer sport (since 2000)|
|Wheelchair tennis||Yes||ITF||Summer sport (since 1992)|
|Sport||Eligible impairments||Governing body||Paralympic Games status|
|Basketball ID||Yes||INAS-FID||Summer sport (2000)|
|Football 7-a-Side||Yes||CP-ISRA||Summer sport (1984-2016)|
|Lawn bowls||Yes||Yes||IPC||Summer sport (1968–1988, 1996)|
|Sailing||Yes||Yes||IFDS||Summer sport (2000-2016)|
|Snooker||Yes||IWAS||Summer sport (1960–1976, 1984–1988)|
|Dartchery||Yes||IPC||Summer sport (1960–1980)|
|Weightlifting||Yes||Summer sport (1964–1992)|
|Wrestling||Yes||Summer sport (1980–1984)|
|Sport||Eligible impairments||Governing body||Paralympic Games status|
|Alpine skiing||Yes||Yes||Yes||IPC||Winter sport (since 1976)|
|Para ice hockey||Yes||IPC||Winter sport (since 1994)|
|Nordic skiing:||Biathlon||Yes||Yes||IPC||Winter sport (since 1988)|
|Cross-country skiing||Yes||Yes||IPC||Winter sport (since 1976)|
|Wheelchair curling||Yes||WCF|| Winter sport (since 2006)|
|Para-Snowboarding||Yes||IPC|| Winter sport (since 2014)|
|Sport||Eligible impairments||Governing body||Paralympic Games status|
|Ice sledge racing||Yes||Winter Sport (1980–1988, 1994–1998)|
Bob Balk, the chairman of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletes' Council, launched a campaign in early 2012 to have sliding sports (bobsleigh, luge and skeleton) included at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
At the meeting in Madrid, Spain, on 10 and 11 September 2018, the Board of IPC decided not to approve the inclusion of Para bobsleigh in the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games after the sport failed to meet the criteria for admission.
The categories listed represent all those groups that participate in this sport at some level. Not all these categories are represented in competition at the Paralympic Games.
The governing bodies listed represent those organizations responsible for the broadest level of participation. In some cases, other disability-specific organizations will also have some governance of athletes in that sport within their own group. For example, the IPC governs multi-disability athletics competitions such as the Paraympic Games; however, CP-ISRA, IBSA, and IWAS provide single-disability events in athletics for athletes with cerebral palsy, visually impaired athletes, and wheelchair and amputee athletes respectively.
Paralympic Games status details the years these sports were practiced as full medal events at the Paralympic Games.
The 1984 International Games for the Disabled, canonically the 1984 Summer Paralympics were the seventh Paralympic Games to be held. They were in fact two separate competitions – one in Stoke Mandeville, United Kingdom for wheelchair athletes with spinal cord injuries and the other at the Mitchel Athletic Complex and Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, United States of America for wheelchair and ambulatory athletes with cerebral palsy, amputees, and les autres [the others]. Stoke Mandeville had been the location of the Stoke Mandeville Games from 1948 onwards, seen as the precursors to the Paralympic Games. As with the 1984 Summer Olympics, the Soviet Union and other communist countries except China, East Germany, Hungary, Poland and Yugoslavia boycotted the Paralympic Games.
The National Paralympic Games are high-level multi-sport events held at the national level by the International Paralympic Committee and national Paralympic Committees in non-Olympic years. The events provide competitions for disabled athletes.
Disability sports classification is a system that allows for fair competition between people with different types of disabilities. Historically, the process has been by two groups: specific disability type sport organizations that cover multiple sports, and specific sport organizations that cover multiple disability types including amputations, cerebral palsy, deafness, intellectual impairments, les autres and short stature, vision impairments, spinal cord injuries, and other disabilities not covered by these groups. Within specific disability types, some of the major organizations have been CPISRA has for cerebral palsy and head injuries, ISMWSF for spinal cord injuries, ISOD for orthopaedic conditions and amputees, INAS for people with intellectual disabilities, and IBSA for blind and vision impaired athletes.
Paratriathlon is a variant of the triathlon for athletes with a physical disability. The sport is governed by the International Triathlon Union (ITU), and was first held as a Paralympic event at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Para-athletics classification is the basis for determining who can compete in specific athletic sports, and within which class. Classification is handled by the International Paralympic Committee, with classification spelled in the IPC Athletics Classification Handbook. People with physical, vision and intellectual disabilities are eligible to compete in this sport. The classification for this sport was created during the 1940s and for much of its early history was a medical condition based classification system. The classification system has subsequently become a functional mobility based one, and is moving towards an evidence-based classification system.
Para-swimming classification is a function-based classification system designed to allow for fair competition in disability swimming. The classes are prefixed with "S" for freestyle, butterfly and backstroke events, "SB" for breaststroke and "SM" for individual medley events. Swimmers with physical disabilities are divided into ten classes based on their degree of functional disability. Those with visual impairments are placed in three additional classes: S11, S12 and S13. One more class, S14, is reserved for swimmers with intellectual disabilities. A final class, S15, is for athletes with hearing loss.
Para-cycling classification is the process of classifying participants in para-cycling covering four functional disability types. The classification system includes classes for handcycles for people who have lower limb mobility issues. The sport is governed by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
Para-alpine skiing classification is the classification system for para-alpine skiing designed to ensure fair competition between alpine skiers with different types of disabilities. The classifications are grouped into three general disability types: standing, blind and sitting. Classification governance is handled by International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing. Prior to that, several sport governing bodies dealt with classification including the International Sports Organization for the Disabled (ISOD), International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation (ISMWSF), International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) and Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CP-ISRA). Some classification systems are governed by bodies other than International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing, such as the Special Olympics. The sport is open to all competitors with a visual or physical disability. It is not open to people with intellectual disabilities.
Para-Nordic skiing classification is the classification system for para-Nordic skiing which includes the biathlon and cross country events. The classifications for Para-Nordic skiing mirrors the classifications for Para-Alpine skiing with some exceptions. A functional mobility and medical classification is in use, with skiers being divided into three groups: standing skiers, sit skiers and visually impaired skiers. International classification is governed by International Paralympic Committee, Nordic Skiing (IPC-NS). Other classification is handled by national bodies. Before the IPC-NS took over classification, a number of organizations handled classification based on the type of disability.
Paralympic powerlifting classification is the system designed for disability based powerlifting to insure that there is level competition across a range of disabilities. Categories are broken down based on weight. The sport's classification is governed by International Paralympic Committee Powerlifting. People with physical disabilities are eligible to compete in this sport.
Disability table tennis classification is the disability sport classification process for table tennis that is governed by the International Table Tennis Federation. The sport's classifications are open to people with physical and intellectual disabilities.
Para-equestrian classification is a system for para-equestrian sport is a graded system based on the degree of physical or visual disability and handled at the international level by the FEI. The sport has eligible classifications for people with physical and vision disabilities. Groups of eligible riders include The sport is open to competitors with impaired muscle power, athetosis, impaired passive range of movement, hypertonia, limb deficiency, ataxia, leg length difference, short stature, and vision impairment. They are grouped into five different classes to allow fair competition. These classes are Grade Ia, Grade Ib, Grade II, Grade III, and Grade IV. The para-equestrian classification does not consider the gender of the rider, as equestrines compete in mixed gender competitions.
Paratriathlon classification is the classification system for athletes participating in paratriathlon. It is governed by the International Triathlon Union (ITU) The sport has been included in the 2016 Summer Paralympics.
Para-equestrian is an equestrian sport governed by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI), and includes two competitive events: One is para-equestrian dressage, which is conducted under the same basic rules as conventional dressage, but with riders divided into different competition grades based on their functional abilities. The other is para-equestrian driving, which operates under the same basic rules as combined driving but places competitors in various grades based on their functional abilities.
The United Arab Emirates is planning to send athletes to the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 7 September to 18 September 2016.
Uzbekistan competed at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 7 to 18 September 2016.
Les Autres sport classification is system used in disability sport for people with locomotor disabilities not included in other classification systems for people with physical disabilities. The purpose of this system is to facilitate fair competition between people with different types of disabilities, and to give credibility to disability sports. It was designed and managed by International Sports Organization for the Disabled (ISOD) until the 2005 merger with IWAS, when management switched to that organization. Classification is handled on the national level by relevant sport organizations.